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What I Didn't Do Today

Here’s what I didn’t do today: I didn’t send out any submissions. I didn’t finish my new short story. I didn’t write an essay about an event (funny now) in my marriage and I didn’t put up my new bulletin board because I didn’t go to Staples to buy a bulletin board.
My new bulletin board, which I’m going to buy and put up tomorrow (it’s on tomorrow’s list so it must be true), is literally going to be inspiring. It’s my rescue plan. I needed to do something...I was ready to throw out my Writer’s Market after receiving a string of rejection letters last week that really bothered me. Don’t ask me why. I know rejection is a normal part of writing. I’ll blame it on the record heat.
Three of my rejections were personal with positive notes about my writing. A personal rejection feels a bit like a backhanded compliment to me. Don’t get me wrong—I prefer them to form rejections. (If any editors are reading this, please don’t stop sending personal rejections although you'll save time if you send me a form acceptance letter instead.)

I also didn’t quit writing. I can’t stop writing anymore than I can stop looking at plants. When my collage of inspiring words is on the bulletin board hanging on the wall, the sting of a rejection won’t be as noticeable. I’ll look up and see the kind words I received from editors this year. Words like—

We saw some sparkle in Drive, Jules. (From a rejection letter.)

Are these lovely poems still available?

Again, we would like to thank you for your fine piece of writing. We are proud to have the opportunity to publish it.
You’re a wonderful writer!

We have greatly enjoyed working with you and publishing your work.

Writers need to do something to remind themselves of their successes because the rejections are going to outnumber them. I was going to get a small bulletin board but the point is to provide positive inspiration. I’ll send some good vibes into the universe—go all out and buy a medium size one.

3 Comment count
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Good idea...

Yes, those kind of praises from editors should be very encouraging.

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I wish I didn't care what people thought about my writing. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, I have an ego that needs reassurance occasionally.

I can't explain why writing makes me feel so inept, so insecure. My best guess is because it's sweet torture, especially poetry. I can agonize over or be in love with the construction and creation of a poem for hours, days or years.

Everything else I write is easier-an essay, report, short story, etc...


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We all need appreciation...

I cannot imagine not caring about what people think about our writing unless it is in a private journal that we plan for no one to ever see. I suspect every writer has sometime thought: I am so terrible a writer that I am ashamed of trying. (Especially after rejection letters. Ha.) But getting the kind of feed back from editors that you do is terrific because you know they have the experience to judge good writing. I am just grateful for friends and relatives who tell me they read what I write. It makes me feel so good to know someone has bothered to read what I created.

I write almost no poetry. When I do, it results from intense emotion--and I love the poem. I always know I do not understand structure or how to properly write a poem and have probably broken all the "rules" but I don't care. And I care the least about what someone else thinks about this kind of writing because the poem recaptures whatever moment brought about the emotion. But I do not agonize over the poem, it just happens. So probably this is why my reaction is the exact opposite of yours. If I try to sit down and write a poem, I cannot.